Consumer Reports Says Tesla and Electric SUVs “Absolute Bottom” for Reliability

Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of vehicle testing, spoke to a Detroit Automotive Press Association group about reliability this week. The Tesla lineup was explicitly mentioned as unreliable, while the Consumer Reports conference also noted quality issues that plagued electric SUVs. However, it wasn’t all bad news. Many brands saw improved reliability overall.

Consumer Reports said most electric SUVs, including Tesla, are the “absolute bottom”

Tesla Electric SUVs Get Poor Scores From Consumer Reports
Tesla Electric SUVs get poor scores from Consumer Reports | Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

Earlier today, Consumer Reports 2021 Reliability Report came out. It wasn’t exactly a glowing review for Tesla, who ended almost dead last. Reuters says that during a presentation earlier on Thursday, Fisher commented on electric vehicle reliability. More specifically, he noted that electric SUVs were among the least reliable group. “Electric SUVs as a vehicle category is the absolute bottom in terms of reliability,” he said.

When citing certain vehicles, Consumer Reports still recommended the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle. When it comes to reliability, it ranks fairly averagely among similar vehicles. However, Fisher said that the rest of the Tesla lineup is below average.

As it stands right now, the highest rating for a Tesla on Consumer Reports is the 2022 Tesla Model 3, with a score of 79. The 2022 Tesla Model S has a score of 65. The 2022 Tesla Model X only scored 46 overall, with predicted reliability of one out of five. Similarly, the 2022 Tesla Model Y only scored a 56 overall with the same low predicted reliability.

Consumer Reports found most electric SUVs unreliable

In the presentation, Fisher noted some common problems among Tesla Model Y SUVs. Body panel issues, leaks, and air conditioning issues, specifically. With the Model X, the falcon wing doors are a big seller and a big headache for drivers.

“High-end electric-powered Sport Utility Vehicles are among the least reliable vehicles, but NOT because of their relatively simple powertrains. Complex electronics are their Achilles Heel, at least for now.”

Consumer Reports

It is no secret that Consumer Reports hasn’t been a huge fan of the Full Self-Driving and Autopilot technology. “Full Self Driving is not full self-driving at all. It’s a convenience feature,” Fisher told the audience. In addition, the yoke steering wheel has received a variety of negative feedback (not just from CR).

Tesla has been getting some bad press lately due to crashes involving autopilot. The automaker continues to release updates for the software, but drivers continue to have issues.

Ford had some positive reports, but Lexus took the top spot


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One car that received praise was the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Fisher noted that it “is the only one with above-average reliability.” Currently, the 2022 Mustang Mach-E has a score of 80 on Consumer Reports. The predicted reliability came in at a four out of five. The predicted owner satisfaction was a full five out of five.

The top-ranked brand in the survey was Lexus, followed by Mazda and Toyota. 80% of the top-scoring brands were Japanese. Buick was the only American automaker to rank, coming in at number five.